Unveiling REV 9, Penn Electric Racing’s latest race car

Designed and produced by the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s student-run club, REV9 will compete in the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Michigan race in June.

A large group A large group of students stands around an electric formula racing car.

Acrowd filled with curious, eager faces gathered on College Green to see the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Penn Electric Racing (PER) team unveil their latest creation: REV9. It’s the tenth car produced by the student-run club that’s been designed to compete in the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Michigan race in June. 

At the launch, second-year engineering student Rachel Xie, the operations lead of PER from San Ramon, California, welcomed the crowd, explaining that the club is divided into four main cores working year-round on multiple fronts to build the car from scratch and provide the onboard computation needed to run the systems. 

“This season has been challenging, yet the team came together and persevered,” Xe said. Third-year students Rohan Maliekkal from Dubai and second-year student Lauren Lee from San Francisco, the mechanical leads of the team, pointed to this year’s two overarching mechanical goals: innovating the powertrain system, which allows REV9 to hit a top speed of 100 miles per hour, and reducing the car’s weight to under just under 190 kilograms.

Another key improvement the two noted is a revamped battery mounting scheme, allowing for insertion and removal in under five minutes, valuable for saving time between events.


The electrical hardware co-leads, third-years Katie Zhang from Dallas and Kenzo (Rafael) Sakamoto from Sao Paulo, Brazil, said their teams were able to reduce the circuit board size by almost 40% and transition from an off-the-shelf motor controller to a bespoke controller. “Our very own design allows us to deliver up to 80 kilowatts of power and make up to 2 million measurements per second,” Sakamoto said. “It is capable of switching at a frequency of 100,000 hertz, providing a smooth driving experience and high efficiency. Not only that, but it is also 70% lighter than last year's, weighing just under four-and-a-half pounds, and boasts a power density higher than many other controllers across published research.”

Second-year student Eric Cao from New York City , a software co-lead, said he and his team “worked on reducing the metaphorical weight of the car by refactoring some of the code base written in over 1 million lines of C++ code.” With that, the team will be able to minimize debugging time, allowing for extensive testing, crucial for achieving their 100-mile test run objective, which will generate a significant amount of data, Cao said. 

Owing to their much-improved data board, Cao explained, REV9’s processing capabilities will ensure high-quality testing outcomes, and this data, including key metrics like cell voltages, temperatures, wheel speeds, power and run estimates, along with precise GPS data, are transmitted in real time to the driver's dashboard through an updated user interface. This setup, Cao said, ensures that the driver and team have immediate access to critical performance insights during the test run.

“Penn Electric Racing is a is a unique club on campus, and it hosts a special place in our hearts,” Xie said. “Not only do we gain valuable hands-on experience, but the hard work and dedication that we put in truly bonded us, allowing us to develop lifelong friendships.”